Novo mesto, Slovenia
The Municipality of Novo mesto (Slovene: Mestna občina Novo mesto) is a municipality in South-Eastern Slovenia, close to the border of Croatia. There are approximately 36.000 people living in the municipality, with over 23,000 living in the town of Novo mesto, which is the seat of the municipal government. Novo mesto is the seventh largest town in Slovenia, and the Municipality of Novo mesto is one of the eleven Urban Municipalities in Slovenia.
Novo mesto is the administrative, economic, ecclesiastical, cultural, educational, medical, and sports centre of the Southeast Region of Slovenia. It is a hub of plentiful activities, going far beyond the regional framework. The municipality hosts large companies such as Krka, Revoz, Adria Mobil and TPV, as well as exceptionally successful industries in various sectors (such as pharmaceutical, automotive, construction, textile). That is why Novo mesto is called “the export capital of Slovenia”.
The area of the sport and recreation park in Češča vas is located at the western part of Novo mesto, between the Temenica valley and the urban area of the town. It lies right next to Zaloška cesta, which is one of the entrances to Novo mesto. Technology park and the residential neighbourhood Podbreznik are situated in the immediate vicinity. In this rather degraded forest area, military facilities remained abandoned after 1991. An open velodrome was built in the south-eastern part of the area in the 1990s, which was renovated in 2018 into a covered multifunctional facility for cycling and athletics.
The Municipality of Novo mesto intends to build a comprehensive sports and recreation complex in this area, which will be used to cover the needs of both the residents of Novo mesto and the surrounding region, for active leisure. It will operate as an Olympic center with various contents for sports, recreation and education. One of the main development steps of Češča vas park will be the construction of a swimming pool complex with a 25-meter indoor pool, which will be located in the vicinity of the multifunctional hall, and will round off the future Olympic sports center. In the northern part of the park, facilities and arrangements for the needs of the equestrian center, motor experience park, camp and picnic area are planned, and in the western part there will be space for sports-recreational and related activities that are closer to nature and suitable for children, youth, the elderly, people with special needs, occasional visitors and walkers. In this way, the western part of the area is to be given the character of an educational centre for learning about nature and promoting an active and healthy lifestyle.
VARCITIES will support the project in promoting phyisical activity, a healthier lifestyle and better quality of life for all citizens with five different Visionary Solutions.
Several co-creation events were already organised:
- 1st stakeholder co-creation workshop organised on 7th June 2021
- Stakeholder Meeting on VS4 organised on 29th June 2021
- Stakeholder Meeting on VS1 and VS2 organised on 13th July 2021
- 2nd co-creation workshop organised online 10th November 2021
- Town Hall Event organised on-site on 17th January 2023
The Visionary Solutions
VS 1: Brownfield remediation and greening with indigenous plant species
The military brownfield at the pilot site (0.5 ha) will be indigenous to the nearby Natura 2000 areas. This part of the landscaping also has an educational purpose, as it will inform visitors about plant and animal species located in the surrounding area. From the landscaped part of the recreational park, visitors can take a walk along well-kept forest paths through the natural environment of the river Temenica. As part of this measure, sensors will also be installed to monitor air quality and meteorological data. These measurements will also allow to track the difference in climate and AQI parameters of this area in comparison to urban centre of the city.
VS 2: Creation of sustainable forest trails
Creating sustainable trails in the surrounding mixed forest in order to connect the facilities of the sports and recreational park ŠRC Češča vas. Public awareness and educational events as well as information campaigns will be initiated to promote and facilitate the creation of sustainable forest trails, which provide reduced disturbances to fauna as well as damage to soils and vegetation, in the region (more than 58% of total area in Slovenia covered by forests). Planning and construction of a sustainable forest path will be carried out in the length of 1 km. The trim track will be equipped with information stations that will provide visitors information about the factors of a healthy lifestyle. The route will also be equipped with sensors for tracking and detecting the movement of visitors for counting and analysis of the visitor use. It is envisaged that the trim track will “embrace” the area of the recreation park, but it is possible that in dialogue with stakeholders other possible routes will be identified as well as the additional possible use of such paths. Trails will also have to act as part of the pedestrian connection between different parts of the recreation area.
VS 3: Interconnection among sport, recreational and therapeutic facilities
The interconnection of objects and contents primarily focuses on their programmatic, communication and technical connection. The planned resources and tools are: development of integrated business and environmental programs, information equipment for connecting facilities, enabling the access for disabled people in and around facilities, social and educational events, strategic placement of WiFi points, etc. As part of this measure, a comprehensive self-sustaining program offer of the park will be created, offering healthy leisure time for all generations. In cooperation with stakeholders for special target groups (children – motor development, elderly – health strengthening) special part of the programme will be created. At the same time routing tables will be set up for shaping the users’ paths in the physical space. The facilities will be marketed and managed as one entity through development of integrated business and environment programs. Synergies between the offered activities and therapeutic services will be identified with the aim to enhance the experience and H&WB of visitors. Common resources and facilities (e.g. restrooms, wardrobes, rest areas, WiFi hotspot) will be designed and strategically placed to encourage spontaneous encounters and interactions between the various user groups (elderly, youth, motorically impaired), as well as to facilitate serendipitous interactions among the different service providers . The multifunctional hall and the other facilities and parts of the park will work as a seamless entity overcoming the division between sport, recreation and wellbeing. Regular social and educational events as well as meetings with STKs will be organised to facilitate knowledge and experience exchange between the facilities. Inter-departmental collaboration and Institutional learning will be assessed through surveys & questionnaires.
VS 4: Integrated management of the facilities
Sports and recreational facilities at ŠRC Češča vas will be managed through a common ICT platform, which will include a CRM system to collect and manage data from IoT sensors deployed at the park. Sensors for visitors’ movement tracking and detection (people counter) will be installed for visitors flow overview and management. Additionally, public screens will be placed in the check-in area of the park where the visitors flow data will be displayed as well as statistics from the aggregated data collected from other IoT sensors deployed at the park. The measure envisages the design and installation of information technologies that will support the overall operation of the park and will connect: the Velodrome and the multipurpose hall, the swimming pool complex, the motor park, the camp, the event space and the activities of the equestrian center. The implementation of a central website with an overview of the offer, occupancy and events, a booking system for all facilities and events, a platform for data management and visitors is planned.
VS 5: IoT solutions for measuring the health and well-being of users and visitors
Wearables will be acquired to actively track the activities and directly monitor the H&WB of visitors. Additionally, visitor tracking sensors will be placed at the pilot site to more accurately track the movement of visitors.